Dhaka, 6th April 2014: Today in a seminar titled “Agriculture and Farmer Friendly Budget: Public-Private Sector in Seed Management” at the National Press club the speakers urged for sufficient allocation for Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) to rule over the multi national corporations (MNCs) and local companies who basically undermines the rights of farmers in the upcoming budget for the next fiscal year. The seminar is jointly organized by Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh Vumihin Samity, Bangladesh Federation of Agri-farm labours, Labour Resource Center, Kendrio Krishok Moitri, Bangladesh Kishani Shova and COAST Trust at the National Press Club Today.
Mustafa Kamal Akanda of COAST Trust moderates the seminar while Mr. A Kha Ma Jahangir Hossain MP and former State Minister to Textile, Mr. Shamsuzzaman Dudu of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Mr. Anwar Faruk, the Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Dewan Siraj, the presenter of Agriculture program of BTV, Mr. Ziaul Huq Muta of Oxfam-Asia, Mr. Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust spoke as the panelists. The keynote paper is presented by Mujibul Haque Munir of COAST Trust.
In his keynote presentation Mujibul Haque Munir says the entire agriculture sector of the country is being dependent on the seed marketed by the MNCs and local private sector companies. BADC, the public institute for agriculture who have been successfully contributing for the agricultural development since the liberation should be capacitated more to get out of this situation. The contribution of BADC in providing seeds to the farmers, however, is decreasing day by day. He adds, Bt. Brinjal is being promoted in Bangladesh in spite of its health hazardous elements found by its own research. BADC should have been the capacity to monitor this kind of seed marketing.
Ziaul Huq Mukta of OXFAM says in his speech that, no agricultural product should be imported that can threaten our own crop production. The imported crops should be well managed by tariff and other customs rules so that our growers of the same crop could be benefitted. He adds, more allocation in the upcoming budget should be sanctioned for agricultural research and invention of our own seeds. A Price Commission could be introduced in the country so that the proper price is ensured for the small-scale farmers.
Jibanananda Jayanta of Surokkha O Agragati Foundation says, there is no legal protection for the farmers if they end up in any financial loss by using unknown seeds promoted by seed companies. We should have reform the existing laws in this regard. Aminur Rasul Babul says, our farmers should have the right over the seeds. There should be system on how the government will compensate if any farmer fall in financial loss. Dewan Siraj of Bangladesh Television says, there should be budget allocation for marketing of the local agriculture production. The farmers should be involved in the national budget process.
Mr. Anwar Faruk, the additional Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture says, the main problem of our agriculture is the farmers are not getting the just price of their crops. We should develop a value chain for their crop and a well management and preservation system for the surplus production.
Mr. Akram Hossain Chowdhury of Bangladesh Awami league says, we should focus on the empowerment of the marginalized farmers. Neither budget allocation nor the local companies and MNC matters if our farmers are well empowered and equipped.
Mr. Shamsuzzaman Dudu of BNP says, once the democracy is established in the country agriculture along with all other sectors will be developed in no time. We had corruption of 1500 billion Taka in the last 7 years. Democracy is essential to stop this.
Mr. A K M Jahangir Hossain MP says, I think the subsidy in agriculture is a kind of investment. If we spent money here it will return in many times through the agricultural production. He also says, we should consider the reality and the climate of our country while conducting research on the seeds. We can’t blame all kind of high yielding seeds in an average. Our population have been increased in many times and old technology of agriculture is no more sufficient. He adds, BADC have many warehouses in the district level that are out of order. We should reinstall them to function properly.